Smallholder farmers in seven counties have secured Kshs 650 million from the European Union, EU to improve cassava value chain processes in Kenya for a period of three years.
Through Self Help Africa, the EU seeks to improve the competitiveness of cassava production in the country with investments targeting farm mechanization and value addition.
The programme which has been rolled out in Busia County will be extended to
reach other 4000 small scale farmers in Kisumu, Homabay Migori, Kilifi, and Siaya.
Self Help Africa Head of Programme Claris Kionge noted that cassava production in Kenya has declined in the recent decade as a result of inadequate quality seeds.
She stated that her organization will address pests and disease management in cassava to increase production through the establishment of plant clinics that will be managed by extension officers. This is expected to help identified counties attain food security.
Busia County Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi said that the county had grown cassava overages but frequent attacks by diseases and pests have proven a challenge, putting a strain on the production and development of the crop.
He said that completion of a cassava processing factory at Simba Chai in Teso South Sub County will guarantee a ready market for local farmers, create employment opportunities, and enhance production through expanded acreage under cultivation.
According to research by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, cassava is the second most important food root crop in Kenya with the highest production in the coastal and western regions.
KALRO noted that access to extension services was 50 percent in the coast, 65 percent in eastern and 88 percent in western regions.